John Honey's novel 'Paint' was my choice for the October review for a number of reasons. The most outstanding reason was that it resonated so closely with me on many levels. The setting of the novel being round Hobart (where I live) is obvious, but this didn't really come into it though it did add to the overall feeling of familiarity about the book.
The fact that Boris, the main character, is an artist who is totally devoted to his craft to the exclusion of all else; the fact that author John Honey went into quite detailed accounts about Boris' dedication to and extreme love of food and its preparation, and wine and the fact that the repercussions of the Vietnam War fallout formed a reasonable part of the plot.
All four levels mentioned, plus the fact that I found it quite an easy read made my enjoyment of it total.
To briefly explain the logic used above: the artists world of total immersion in what they are currently working on has formed me as a human, my father being a sculptor. The circumstances of Boris' life as detailed by John Honey mirror (pretty accurately) my childhood with my father. Also the fact that I feel Honey has loosely fashioned some of his characters round real people in the art world here in Hobart whom I recognise reinforces this.
The food details logic is obvious if you've visited my blog site, named 'Hobart Food for thought'.
My late teenage years were spent in anger and frustration at our governments participation at that time in the Vietnam War - so that era comprised part of my formative years.
So - to the book itself. The main character, Boris, is a Vietnam vet who makes his living as an artist selling artwork to his Hobart dealer in order to support his lifestyle of good food, wine, music and of course painting.
Boris has a loving and caring relationship with his mother, Fairy, who lives, now widowed, alone in the seaside country town of Orford, which is an hours drive from Hobart, on the East Coast of Tasmania. His regular visits to check on his mum illustrate to Boris Fairy's slow downwards spiral into dementia.
The novel follows two separate routes: one of Boris' relationship with Fairy and the other involving his art and his discovery that his agent has ripped him off.
As with all books of this genre, it ends well, with Fairy dying on her own terms, and Boris' art dealership sorted out.
Being an avid and interested observer of my fellow man, my taste in reading matter tends to automatically veer towards books which graphically and realistically illustrate this. I found 'Paint' answered my criteria extremely well.
It wasn't 'Little Women' or 'TheThorn Birds' but I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope those that read it did too, though my bias may well have swayed my judgement.